20 Companies Open Online Market for Material Reuse

The newly formed National Materials Marketplace brings together more than 20 major companies with operations in the United States to avoid waste by making use of undervalued materials.

Led by the Corporate Eco Forum, the US Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the new joint pilot project will operate through an online database. It will establish new circular supply chains, turning one company’s waste into raw material for others.

Andrew Mangan, executive director of US BCSD, said, “The increasing pressure on our natural resources sends a clear message – we need to find value in discarded materials.”

“Growing cross-industry collaboration for the efficient use of our resources is promising,” Mangan said. “This opens up new business opportunities while creating economic, environmental, and societal benefits.”

“The Materials Marketplace project is a key step towards the shift to a circular economy – one where waste becomes the new engine for creating value,” says Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, WBCSD.

“Unlocking business-to-business reuse opportunities ensure effective waste management and deliver integrated benefits,” said Bakker.

Participating companies include: 3M; Armstrong World Industries; CH2M Hill; Eastman Chemical; Essroc – Italcementi Group; Holcim-Geocycle; Fairmount Santrol; General Motors; Nike; Novelis – Aditya Birla Group; The Dow Chemical; Tetra Pak Inc.; Swisstrax; and Systech among others.

The potential benefits of matching material and by-product waste streams with opportunities for reuse are massive.

For instance, General Motors has generated nearly $1 billion in annual revenue through reusing and recycling its by-products. By finding reuse and recycling options for this material, GM avoided over 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions in 2014.

“Material management is a business opportunity, not just a cost-reduction strategy,” said John Bradburn, GM’s Global Manager of Waste Reduction. “We have to reach the stage where by-products are viewed the same way we view product development – part of constant improvement and innovation.”

The National Materials Marketplace was first conceived at a Corporate Eco Forum member meeting, and the idea gained momentum with the support of early advocates including GM and Nike.

The national pilot builds upon a similar regional project in Austin, Texas, as well as other “by-product synergy” projects in North America, China and the United Kingdom over the past 20 years.

Amy O’Meara, director of the Corporate Eco Forum said, “By leveraging each of our organizations’ strengths, we can deliver increased value to participating companies.”

By joining the pilot, participating businesses benefit from lower operational costs due to cheaper feedstock and reduced waste disposal costs.

Participants can count on a reduced carbon footprint owing to major cuts in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and a reduced environmental footprint by avoiding waste disposal and raw material purchase.

Other benefits include enhanced social and economic impact and an improved corporate reputation

Lessons learned from this pilot project will be used to scale up materials reuse projects worldwide through the WBCSD’s Global Network of national business councils.


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